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Aug. 21st Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Just a short hello today because there is so much news and so much to do as we approach October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month.


We are so grateful to all of you for what you have done to make Silent Witness so successful, 20 countries strong and moving forward every day with help and healing for domestic violence. Without you we could do NOTHING. Thanks to those of you who have written me with your memories of what SW means to you. It is so moving to hear from you. I may have to dedicate a whole newsletter just to excerpts from your comments. 

So write to us this week: if you have been to the March, tell us what it meant to you; if you coordinate an exhibit, tell us what was your most memorable moment; if you are a survivor or family member, tell us about how SW has helped your healing; if you are a a mentor or Results Project leader, tell us how that has affected your life. Just take a few minutes to remember how much you have given and how much you have received from being part of Silent Witness.


These are the opportunities you need to know about for moving forward on Results Projects this fall:

Rhode Island Training Program for Perpetrators: Newport, RI, October 18-19
The Rhode Island SW Program is sponsoring Dr. Steven Stosny and the Compassion Based Treatment model that is so successful with perpetrators. Cost: $50 Contact: Nancy Rafi, nrafi@afford.com

Steering Committee Meeting: Helena, Montana, Oct. 24-25. 
We will highlight the Owning Up Program for adolescents, presented by Rosalyn Wiseman.
We will also summarize the successful treatment programs for Survivors, presented by Rosemary Boerboom. This is a great way to get two program ideas that can change your state. cost: $40 Contact: Janet Hagberg hagbe003@tc.umn.edu

Montana Training Program for Perpetrators: Helena, Montana, Oct. 26-27
Montana SW program is presenting a phenomenal treatment program for perpetrators called "Self Mastery" lead by Rosemary Boerboom, a psychologist, a Silent Witness Treatment mentor and an expert in successful perpetrator programs. Contact: Jerri Miller jerrim@state.mt.us

Two other opportunities are available for those who are interested, sponsored by specific organizations in these states but you could attend: North Carolina Treatment Association and Wyoming SW organization sponsored training. More details to follow on all of these programs.


Sheila Grossman (SW Coordinator, Connecticut, new email address), Lyndi (A Safe Place, new SW exhibit, New Hampshire), Vicki Garcia, Yvonne Gutierrez (Texas A&M, new SW exhibit, Laredo, Texas), Willetta Dolphus (South Dakota Coalition, Eagle Butte), Jean Richards (NOW, County Commission on Women, Monterey County, CA), Kathie Williams (new SW exhibit, Atlanta, GA), Stephanie Johnson (Police Response Advocate Coordinator, Crisis Center, Junction Cty, Kansas), Patty Cohen Hecht (Friend of SW, Connecticut, new email address), Rita Guthrie (Tom Green Cty Crisis Intervention Services, TX, new email address), Yvonne Cheek (Friend of SW, Minneapolis), Ronna Quimby (Director, HOPE Family Shelter, Mineral Wells, Texas), Jerri Vaughn (Family Violence Shelter, Cleburne, TX), Raija Ala-Lipasti (Turku Women's Centre, Turku, Finland), Tom Campbel (Cal. Victim's Compensation Board, Sacramento), Jan Langbein (Genesis Women's Shelter, Jr. League, Dallas,TX), Jo Monson (Zonta International), Andrea Shaner (Sojourner Shelter, Springfield, IL), Laura Deveau (Babson College, Boston), Sherry Clark (Court Watch, Tulsa, OK).



Another wonderful update from Diane Peterson in Tucson, who is really going to town:
:Lots happening here. We're making 30 Witnesses (have 26 actual names, but are going to make 30 figures). We have "only" 26 because the rest of the victims didn't have any information - and  there's many more from the last two years. We have 7 children included that we're putting in the red cradle. The shields are almost ready from the guy making them. We have decided to get the sentra board and then do what we did in Vermont, get local technical school students to cut out the Witnesses. I really believe that's a way to bring the
message to the kids, as well as getting our exhibit made. A woman in Phoenix who owns a business that makes plaques - we asked her about cutting out the Witnesses, but her equipment wouldn't handle large shapes - said she would make some small figures (maybe 5" high) from the remaining sentra board to use to give to legislators,
businesses, etc.

*Every time we turn around something more is coming out of Arizona. Go for it, Diane and company. 


Colette De Troy from the European Women's Lobby us this note:

I've just received the video cassette and documentation, thank you very much. I am quite impressed by the action already taken in the US, it's certainly a good model and it could be disseminated in Europe. I hope we could collaborate and join our efforts for the same struggle.

*Great to hear from the women at the European Women's Lobby.  They have a force there that stretches across Europe. This is almost more than we can imagine all at once!!


The city of Sacramento will have a new Silent Witness exhibit. Tom Campbel from the California Victim's Compensation Board, called with the news. They plan to have men within the correctional facility make forty Silent Witnesses and a child's figure. This means that we have at least ten exhibits in California.

*What great news, to hear that most of the largest cities of California now have their own Silent Witness exhibits. Thanks, Tom for this news.


Here's the latest update from Angela Doyle, our faithful coordinator in the Cayman Islands. She says its a draft, but it sounds pretty well planned to me!!

It is always good to see what others are doing and I get inspiration and ideas from them all. We are moving along very nicely in Grand Cayman with our plans for October 18th 2000. I believe that this is our final plan BUT please take it as draft for now as we have a few permissions to get yet. As you know this is our first planned Silent Witness March in the Cayman Islands. Following your ideas on what other areas have done to obtain maximum effect on the day we have decided to march in silence. We have picked a route that commences at Government Buildings and the Police Station (which stand adjacent to each other) and finishes at the Court House, where we will have our first Standing Exhibit of the Silent Witnesses for a yet to be agreed period. 

Also at the finish we will view the first graduates of the Royal Cayman Islands Police Domestic Violence Training program recently established here by the Police Commissioner in conjunction with CAFRA. We will wear black and blue ribbons as evidence of support for the DV campaign and each person will carry a symbolic Silent Witness either full figures or heads. Best news of all Janet the local TV station is covering the March live. We are so lucky with the support we have received. Our 16 Days committee realized that we could not put on the March ourselves. I approached the National Steering Committee on Gender Violence of which I am a member (along with representatives of the majority of the local service organizations and government agencies'). The result you see above. As we move forward I will keep you updated but as of today we are definitely on the March.

*Thanks for this update, Angela. It sounds really great. We'd all love to be there with you. Thank you all for all your dedication and really hard work on this.


Jan Fuhr writes us this update for their Silent Witness activities in Connecticut in October:

As for Connecticut. The taskforce is once again sponsoring an all day educational seminar on DV. It will be called "The Road to Hope" and is the second annual such seminar. I will give you more details as they appear.

*Thanks, Jan. Please keep up updated on this. It's very exciting, the Road to Hope Indeed!!!


Stephanie Lighter provides us with this update on southern Florida: 

We all in full swing with our events for October. Our coalition group is planning a walk with a vigil from the Boca Community Hospital to Florida Atlantic University. We will literally stop traffic with this one! Prior to this we will exhibit the Silent Witnesses and the Clothes Line  Project in the students area at FAU to get them educated and informed.

Court Watch continues to expand with nearly 40 volunteers from NCJW covering 3 courts in Palm Beach Count. NCJW is still working together with the Domestic Violence Council of Palm Beach County.  This council is make up with professionals and we are making our mark as the only volunteer organization on the council.

*Our volunteers are the best!! The march and the Court Watch program are both prime examples of what people with passion can accomplish.


Lynette Irlmeier, our great colleague from the Iowa Coalition writes with the schedule of events for the Silent Witness exhibit in Des Moines. 

We have had so many requests for the Witness Display in October that we filled most of the September and November calendars as well. They will be in several different locations in some of the cities. If people want more information on those community events I am including local phone numbers as well. As more information becomes available you can find it on our WEB site www.icadv.org (if you've never been to our web site, you should check it out, the opening page is really cool).

September 1 - 8 Principal Financial Building, Des Moines
September 9 - 10 Windsor Heights Lutheran Church, Des Moines
September 22- 24 Annual Walk Away from Violence walkathon, Clinton (319) 242-2118
September 25-30 Grundy Center, (319) 824-5522
October 1-7 Carroll, (712) 792-6722
October 8 - 14 Algona (515) 295-6958
October 15 - 21 Sioux City (712) 277-0131
October 22-27 Fort Dodge (515) 955-2273
October 29 - Nov 3 Des Moines (515) 244-8028
November 12 - 18 University of Northern Iowa 

*Thanks, Lynette for this great effort. We are thrilled that the Witnesses are so busy and doing their healing work in Iowa.


Now this idea is truly a new one. The whole upper midwest and the northeast could try this one!!

THE AMAZING CORN MAZE Friday Saturday and Sunday August 18, 19, 20, 25, 26, and 27th.

Wind your way through a challenging 2 acre corn maze. Admission to the corn maze will be $3.00 per person and all proceeds will benefit the Abused Women's Advocacy Project. You can walk the maze and enjoy the country setting, picnicking with your family. Lunch items and T-shirts will be sold. A great event for family and friends.

*What creativity. I'd love to hear how this goes and what it is like to walk the maze.


We've heard from Manci Bobrow that the Missouri SW exhibit will be traveling all over the state during October and will also be housed in downtown St. Louis. The Witnesses there are very very busy sending their message across the state.

*Yes, yes, yes. We would like every state to have a full agenda for the Witnesses for this October. 


Linda writes us from Avenel, NJ.

I'm a member of the Woodbridge Township Domestic Violence Response Team and this year I'm trying to help out with the Middlesex County Silent Witness Coalition. It will be held at Rutgers Univ. in New Brunswick during the first week of October.

*Great to hear from Middlesex County. Thanks for this October news. Let us know how it goes. And thanks for the great work.


James Brown of the police academy of Cincinnati writes that he and Theresa Adair (shelter director) are on a lethality assessment team, a team that looks at the characteristics that make perpetrators lethal (likely to murder). There are ten points on the lethality assessment. As part of their training they attended an autopsy of a victim of domestic violence. Here's what he reports: 

The victim had been strangled and shot three times in the head. The suspect, a former boyfriend, has been charged in the murder. He also shot a neighbor who had responded to help. On Sunday morning, July 30, the victim's father committed suicide. They were a very close family and apparently he was hurting, lost and confused and felt responsible for the death of his daughter. He will be a figure in the suicide stats for 2000 but he is as much a victim of domestic violence as was his daughter.

Of the 10 points we use to gauge lethality, the boyfriend appears to have hit on at least 8 of the 10. What we have learned and will learn from Saturday's tragedy won't help this victim and her family but it will provide information that will have have a positive impact on preventing such acts of violence.

*Jim, it sounds like we have a good handle on what the characteristics are that predict murders. Would you like to give us a brief summary of those ten points. As you say, it's too late for this family, but we could all learn from this tragedy.


A wonderful note from our web site from Sherry who works with the Court Watch in Tulsa:

I am the Court Watch Volunteer Coordinator for the collaborative Court Watch program begun October, 1999 between Retired and Senior Volunteer Program of Tulsa, OK and Domestic Violence Intervention Services, Inc. Please add us to the list of cities with a Court Watch! Additionally, I presented "How to Begin a Court Watch in Your Community" seminar at the National Corporation for National Service Convention in Orlando in June, 2000. Your site is so complete and informative - I would have had more difficulty starting up the program without the info on this site. Thanks much.

* And we would not have a Court Watch Program in Tulsa if it weren't for you all. Thanks for your fine work.


Emily Heilbrun, our faithful SW coordinator in Oregon sends us this note about October activity: I'm responding to your request for info on events planned for October. The Oregon Witnesses will be traveling around the state. We're still in the process of working out the schedule, but I know some exciting events are planned in various locales. We get the most requests for the Witnesses during October, so I'm sure they'll be very busy.

Thanks for the newsletters. It's always good to hear what's going on elsewhere!

*And thanks, Emily, for the ongoing activity for SW in Oregon. We really appreciate it.


Nancy Rafi fills us in on the training plans and a healing story from RI:

We are in the process of getting ready for a conference to be held October 18 & 19 in Providence, with Dr. Steven Stosny coming from Maryland to introduce his model for perpetrators. (SEE NOTE AT BEGINNING OF NEWSLETTER) We're calling the conference "Compassionate Alternatives" and it's being marketed heavily to health care and
social workers, with the hope that they will be interested in using this as a batterer's intervention program in our state. We're very excited that you (Janet) will be joining us for this, and we look forward to having you lead our March to End the Silence through Providence on the18th.

Along that thought - Melanie and I are meeting tonight with a woman named Collitta Miller. About 2 months ago Collitta was entering her house when her estranged husband attacked her, dragged her down the street, kissed her cheek, told her to be quiet, and then slit her throat. I'm glad to say that her neighbors heard her screams, and Collitta is still alive and recovering from her injuries. Her husband committed suicide. The local newspaper and hospital were collecting funds for her because her health care benefits won't cover her rehabilitation costs (the tendons in her arms were severed when she was fighting off his attack, and she's not able to use her hands very well yet), and RI Silent Witness sent her a letter and made a donation. She contacted us last week, and asked us about Silent Witness and just what it was we did. I explained the basics to her, and she has expressed an interest in speaking at our October event - she states she would like to serve as an example that it DOES happen to your next-door neighbor (local press coverage made much of the fact that her husband was an executive with a prominent RI company - it doesn't happen to "those"

*This treatment could mean an end to episodes such as this. And It will be so healing for Collitta to be part of Silent Witness. It could give her the needed purpose in her life right now. Thanks for this update.


A very much appreciated note (although accompanied by a sad story) from Jan Langbein, of the JR. League of Dallas:

I recently received your letter dated June 2000. I wanted to take a minute to say thank you to you and all who have made possible the incredible Silent Witness National Initiative. I am the Executive Director for the Genesis Women's Shelter in Dallas and a member of the Junior League of Dallas. I first heard about the SWNI through the Junior League and have watched with pride as leagues across the country have shared this project. I am also on the Board of the Texas Council of Family Violence and read with care and sadness the names of each new silhouette in Austin. This project has taken on new meaning for me however as last September 18th my friend Mary Williams Richardson was brutally murdered by her husband in front of their 3 children. Our community cried as we listened to the 911 tape of 8 year old Mary Beth begging for someone to help stop the bleeding. 

I feel strongly that the Silent Witness National Initiative does exactly that---help stop the bleeding. By raising the level of awareness---by remembering those who have died ---we are renewed in our resolve to support those who are survivors and prevent future victims. Again, thank you for all you do. I applaud your efforts.

*Jan, thanks for your kind words. We truly appreciate what the Jr. Leagues and all the other organizations have done over the years and we are proud to be part of this larger world-wide initiative to heal domestic violence.

And a note from Yvonne Gutierrez in Laredo, who tells us that the Rotary International has made domestic violence awareness one of its major goals. We'd love to connect with that group so Yvonne, or any of you who have connections, please let them know we are interested. And thanks, Yvonne, for the tip.


I (Janet ) am leaving today for a week in Ohio, visiting as many of the Silent Witness coordinators and other dv related programs as I can. I'll be in five cities and will make presentations in several places. The best part is seeing the faces of all of you loyal activists and thanking you personally for all that you do for Silent Witness and for the healing of dv in this country. I'm really looking forward to the trip. And, of course, I'm going to try to take in a baseball game while I'm in Cleveland!!

I have asked the following angels to be the regional directors this year to call all of you who coordinate SW exhibits to see what you are doing for October this year. Please cooperate with them and tell them all the wonderful plans you have so we can circulate them in the newsletter. We are all volunteers and I really appreciate all this effort.

Midwest: Jan Abbey, Gail Asher
West, Northwest: VIcki Amundson, Jerri Miller
West, Southwest: Joanne Coghill, Lucia Nordstrom
South, Southeast: Stephanie Lighter, Kirsten Giatzis
East, Northeast: Nancy Rafi, Jan Fuhr

We are working on the new design for the web site now. It will be really beautiful and easier to navigate. Thanks to David Peterson, our web master for this fine work. You might be interested in the fact that we usually get 11,000 hits a month, until recently. We have now jumped to 13,000 hits a month and then last week we jumped to 13,000 hits in one week. There is a groundswell of activity in our web site. We get comments that it is very practical and gives great data on homicide reduction. We are seen as a credible source and an inspiring one. Recently we were cited as being in the top 15% of all web sites. Isn't that phenomonal. Thanks to all of you, Silent Witness is really on the move.

I've asked Lois Herman to be our Silent Witness international ambassador. She has done such a fine job of traveling to international sites and contacting groups who might be interested in being part of Silent Witness International (as well as human rights activities). We are indebted to her for her great efforts and enthusiasm. Thank you Lois.

We are excited to be talking with Zonta International about ways in which we might collaborate with them. What a wonderful organization and what a great way to forward both of our interests. They have made the reduction of domestic violence one of their national goals. ANd they are eager to bring Silent Witness to Virginia, the only state that does not have a SW exhibit. YES. Thanks to Jo Monson for contacting us. We look forward to a exciting future with them.

These are the 14 states/territories/countries I have heard from who are having Silent Witness events in October. Our goal is all 50 states and 10 other countries!! We have a ways to go. Fire up!!

Cayman Islands-- Connecticut-- Florida-- Iowa--Michigan-- Minnesota-- Missouri-- Montana-- New Hampshire-- New Jersey-- North Carolina-- Oregon-- Rhode Island-- Wyoming

First Monday 2000: Unite to End Gun Violence Judy Bonderman sent us this announcement about First Monday. Please read it and be involved. 

On October 2, 2000, hundreds of college and graduate school campuses will participate in programs promoting education and action to reduce gun violence. First Monday 2000: Unite to End Gun Violence will launch a year long campaign designed to bring new energy, voices, and ideas into efforts to change policies that impact gun violence. Building on the enthusiasm created by the Million Mom March last May, First Monday will mobilize students from schools of law, nursing, social work, public health and medicine to join with activists in their communities in a call for stronger gun laws. First Monday 2000 is a program of the Alliance for Justice, in collaboration with Physicians for Social Responsibility. 

The facts about guns and domestic violence challenge us to develop effective interventions to protect the large numbers of battered women living in fear of abusers with access to guns. Advocates for battered women could add a new perspective to the ongoing debate about the risks and benefits of keeping guns for self-defense, including gun industry advertisements which promote handguns as a deterrent to violent crime. We know that the greatest threat of violence to women is not from strangers, but rather from their own circle of relatives, acquaintances, and friends. The presence of a gun dramatically increases the chance that a domestic violence incident will end in murder, often within seconds after a gun is brandished. One study found that family and intimate assaults involving guns were 12 times more likely to result in death than family and intimate assaults not involving guns.

See www.firstmonday2000.com for full details of planned activities. Email the Alliance for Justice at firstmonday2000@afj.org or call 202-822-6070 if you want to help plan an event or provide a speaker on the issue of guns and family violence.

I leave you today with one of my favorite quotes from Barbara Brown Taylor about one thing that may distinguish those who have faith:

"Faith may be nothing more than the assignment of holy meaning to events that others would call random."

We are an organization with a lot of faith since we believe that nothing is random!!



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